Armenia and Azerbaijan have not yet agreed on the date of a fresh meeting of their presidents sought by international mediators, a senior Armenian diplomat said on Thursday.
“As you know, there has been a proposal from the mediators,” Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharian told journalists. “The [Armenian and Azerbaijani] foreign ministers are working in that direction. There is no final agreement and decision yet.”
The U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group continued to press for such a summit when they met with Foreign Ministers Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov in Brussels on July 11. In a joint statement issued after the talks, they said Nalbandian and Mammadyarov agreed to meet again in September for further discussions on the issue.
In a televised interview aired on July 16, President Serzh Sarkisian said a “preliminary agreement” on his face-to-face talks with Azerbaijan’s Ilham was reached during the co-chairs’ tour of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone last month. “My expectations from the meeting are not big, but that meeting could take place this autumn,” he told the Armenia TV station.
The two presidents most recently met in May and June last year shortly after four-day deadly hostilities around Karabakh. They agreed to allow the OSCE to deploy more field observers in the conflict zone and investigate truce violations occurring there.
The Azerbaijani government has since been reluctant to implement these safeguards, however, saying that they would cement the status quo in the absence of progress in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks. The Armenian leadership insists, meanwhile, on an unconditional implementation of the confidence-building measures that were agreed by Aliyev and Sarkisian.
Sarkisian claimed on July 16 that Baku is now refusing to seek a Karabakh settlement based on the so-called Madrid Principles that have been advanced by the mediating powers for the past decade.
The proposed framework peace accord calls for a gradual resolution of the Karabakh dispute that would start with a gradual liberation of virtually all seven districts around Karabakh that were fully or partly occupied by Karabakh Armenian forces in 1992-1993. In return, Karabakh’s predominantly ethnic Armenian population would determine the territory’s internationally recognized status in a future referendum.